WASHINGTON – Consumer confidence (search) in the days following the presidential election fell from the levels of early October, led by higher economic worries among Democrats and some independents.
The AP-Ipsos consumer confidence index from polling conducted Nov. 3-5 dipped to 89.8, down from 97.6 in early October. The index was above 100 in late summer, near its 2004 high.
The index is benchmarked to a 100 reading on January 2002, the month the index was started in consumer confidence was led by growing worries about the economy in the next six months. A sub-index looking at consumer expectations dropped to 89.9, from 98.3 a month ago.
The drop was led by increased fears among Democrats and some political independents after the re-election of President Bush (search), a Republican.
"I'm more worried about the economy," said Susan Norvell, a Democrat from Salisbury, N.C. "We would have been in better shape if Senator (John) Kerry had won. We've had a lot of closings in our area. A lot of jobs have been lost — some of it to outsourcing. People have to be retrained and that takes time."
Overall consumer confidence was slightly lower than a year ago, when it was 94.4, but higher than it was for much of 2003.
While expectations about the coming months dropped, other components of the index remained about the same. Sub-indexes that remained near their October levels were focused on jobs, 103.9; current economic conditions, 98.6; and investment, 96.
The AP-Ipsos index on consumer attitudes on spending by household is compiled from a series of poll questions about the economy, personal finances, the investment climate and jobs.
Economic signals in this country have been mixed in recent weeks, with modest job growth, sluggish productivity and overall economic growth from July to September that was higher than in the spring, but lower than analysts expected.
Republicans were far more likely then Democrats or independents to say they expect the local economy in their area will be stronger in six months.
"I'm extremely optimistic about the economy because of the president being back in office," said Molly Maurino, a Republican and college teacher from Sacramento, Calif. "Republicans aren't dependent on the government taking care of them. I will take care of myself. That's what President Bush represents."
The continuity that comes with re-electing Bush was reassuring for Tom Ryan, an independent from Oswego, Ill. in the investment business.
"I'm pretty optimistic, the economy is doing fine," Ryan said. "I don't think it would have been right to change in the middle of a war. I think things will go well over the next four years."
Ryan said another reason he was more comfortable with Bush winning re-election was the continuing danger of terrorism and the related threat to the economy.
"Terrorism is a big concern," he said. "I think they're planning something, a big assault that could kill a lot of people."
People are still divided on how the president is handling the economy, according to the AP-Ipsos polling, though he gets higher marks for handling terrorism and foreign policy — his strongest area with the public.
The AP-Ipsos consumer confidence index is based on a poll of 1,000 adults taken Nov. 3-5, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.